Dealing with a thrip infestation? These nuisance pests are typically found on plants in the yard and on houseplants, which means they can potentially make themselves at home in your house. Of all common household pests, thrips can be quite a challenge to handle. They’re small-bodied, with tiny, feathery wings, and with no natural predators inside the house, they can multiply incredibly quickly. Read on to learn how to get thrips under control, both outside and inside the home
Handling thrips on outdoor plants
Thrips cause significant damage to plants. You’ll find them on leaves, stems and blossoms, sucking out juices and scraping at flowers. Here’s how you can keep your garden thrip-free and how to deal with a large infestation:
- Prevention: The best way to control thrips is by preventing them from making their home in plants in the first place. Prune and pull weeds and remove plant debris immediately, since thrips lay eggs in slits in stems and leaves. Regularly inspect plants in your garden for streaks, silvery speckling and small white patches that are common signs of thrip infestation.
- •Extermination: While blue sticky traps help control adult thrips and keep them from reproducing, there are some cases in which infestations get out of hand. Contact a professional pest control company when an infestation has gotten out of control. They’ll typically use a pyrethrin spray or other oil-based spray to eliminate thrips. Never do this yourself, since pyrethrins have potential to irritate the skin.
Handling thrips on indoor plants
Thrips can bite humans and pets, so an indoor infestation is more than just a simple nuisance or a threat to your plants. If you’ve noticed signs of thrips on indoor plants, take the following steps to get the situation under control:
- Wash the plant: Soapy water can kill thrips safely and naturally. You can spray a solution of soapy water and dish soap directly on the thrips to kill them on contact, and it’s safe to spray the entire plant to make sure you get them all. You can also use a sponge and soapy water, rubbing each leaf and stem to eliminate the thrips. Start slow, and make sure your plant isn’t sensitive to the soap.
- Try neem oil: Neem oil is effective in controlling thrips. Use one to two drops in a gallon of water and pour the solution into a spray bottle. Test neem oil on a single leaf first to make sure your plant isn’t sensitive to it. Spray onto affected areas and rinse the plant with water after the solution has sat for 20 minutes
Diatomaceous earth: This innovative product kills thrips on contact, but it should only be applied by a professional pest control technician. It’s incredibly effective and will free your plants from thrips.
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